Energy policy — hydroelectric: Ridgway Dam hydroelectric retrofit

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From The Telluride Watch (Gus Jarvis):

“We hope to have a permit in our hands inside 15 months,” Tri-County General Manager Mike Berry said at Monday’s Ouray Board of County Commissioner meeting in Ouray. “At that point in time, we will start designing this project.”

According to Berry, two weeks ago the federal Bureau of Reclamation issued a federal register announcement calling for applications, which are due by December. The process is open to anyone and is intended to be an open and competitive process. After the deadline, it could take the Bureau of Reclamation anywhere from three to six months to select an applicant and then complete negotiations for a permit…

“The size of the plant will be somewhere between 1.8 and 2.5 megawatts, depending on how we can configure the construction of it,” Berry said, adding that the cost of the hydroelectric plant could be anywhere from $9 million to $15 million. “We are still talking about exactly what we [would] build.”

If Tri-County is ultimately awarded a permit, Berry said it is the utility’s intent to run the plant on historical flows to “minimize the environmental impact” and to continue to maintain the Uncompahgre River’s water flow in similar form as it has in the past. “We are primarily responsible to provide water and irrigation down stream,” Tri-County Boardmember Frank Starr said. “So we will not alter the release of water in order to create power.”

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